World’s and Other Stuff

Ok so I’ve terrible at updating my blog (but, frankly, who isn’t right?!).  My plan is to write after my training and errands but before the boys get home from school, so essentially, I have no time to write!  Anyway, it is now April and the week before the start of another racing season, and I found some time to provide an update about my “doings and going-on’s”.

First, a little about my experience at Ironman 70.3 World Championships.  The town of Zell Am See, Austria is a such a beautiful, boutiquish (not sure if that is even a word, but it works), quaint little ski town, with a scenery of massive snow-capped mountains and a shimmering blue lake, it made the race feel even more surreal and the whole experience just wonderful and fun.  I am passionate about racing because of many things, one having the opportunity to travel the world, and Zell Am See is not something I see if not for Worlds. So, lucky me!

Thanks to Stephanie Swanson, the owner and designer of my wonderful sponsor, SOAS, I was outfitted with a new kit to wear, which as usual, brought in the compliments left and right.  In my gallery, you will see the pics! Look great, race great, right?!?!soas-pro-kit

For the cyclists who like to climb, the bike leg, at this event, was perfect.  We climbed for 850m to the summit then headed down a steep and curvy road all whilst surrounded by beauty.  I had the fortune of staying in the same hotel as pro, Lauren Brandon, so she and I decided to do a couple of practice runs down this unbelievably steep and technical descent in the days before the race. Thank goodness we did. I could not imagine taking that thing on without any practice. It truly was a monster of a descent.worlds-bike

By the time I started the run leg, the temperature was in the 90’s, so hydration played an important part and because of the narrow Austrian ski-town streets, congestion proved to be an issue especially with a wealth of age groupers on the run course.  Racers would slow down or walk at water stations which made it difficult to access, but all of us were in the same, and it’s just part of the race. For a runner, like me, however, I need every break on the run I can get.  I didn’t feel like I had the race of my life, but I gave it everything I had on that day, and ended up placing 18th, with zero regrets, I was so happy to be 18th in the World on that day, and it is something I will hold on to dearly for the rest of my life.

The next morning, Thad and I were off to explore.  Of course, I love my boys, but it was very nice for Thad and I to have some alone time together, just doing our thing.  Tristan and Ashton were back in school, for the fall, and we had friends and family helping the boys and tending to their every need, which we appreciated so very much!!  We spent two nights in Salzburg, Austria, then two nights in Munich, Germany.  Trust me, it consisted of intermittent periods of relaxing, hiking, exploring, eating good food and drinking great wine, over and over!

After taking a week off following World’s, I decided to race one more time this season. I know I didn’t have to squeeze one more in, but decided to do so for a few reasons. One, my race season started late since coming back from hip surgery, two (and this may be less of a reason, and more of a need), the fall weather in Missoula is absolutely wonderful for biking & running, and three, I just wasn’t ready mentally or physically for my break.  So, I trained through, and decided to race Silverman 70.3.  And let’s just say I had no problem starting my break after that.  I struggled in very choppy water-very, very, very choppy water-and had a minor crash on my bike.  I hit the median, at a relative slow speed, and besides being covered in a bloody, awful looking road rash, not much more than my ego was hurt, so I got back on the bike and finished.  Lesson learned, do not try to check your brakes when you are moving, as if you didn’t already know that.  I think I was pissed enough when I started riding that I had a decent bike leg, and then, through anger and adrenaline, I had my best run of the season.  I placed 11th and got to spend a little time in the medical tent, which of course, was not a whole lot of fun!

The biggest change for me this fall was that I made a coaching change.  I had been working with Elliot for four years, and I am truly thankful for all his knowledge, support and friendship.  He is a great coach and person.  So, then, you ask, “why the change?”  I knew I wasn’t ready to be done racing, but I also know that I’m not a young athlete anymore, and I need to go all-in for the next few years, if I am going to keep doing this crazy sport.  In making the decision, I felt the need to try something different, both mentally and physically, to keep me motivated.  I had such great progress in so many areas, but I just hadn’t made any progress in the swim and I needed to do everything I could to change that.  After speaking to other pro triathletes and doing my own research, I was excited to connect with Coach David Tilbury-Davis.

Since starting with David in November, many changes have been made, which I feel are going to give me a chance to improve my swim, as well as the bike and the run. Of equal importance, David gives me one day off a week, which has been not only good for me mentally and physically, but it has also been great for my family!  They know they get mom all day on Sunday!  Another change is adding Yoga weekly and much more strength training, both of which have been beneficial to me thus far.  It has be exciting to see my progress, in the swim, and just with my overall strength. Every coach does it differently, and I think my body was somewhat used to the same methods, each year, and is responding quickly to David’s new ideas and approach.  As mentioned, my swim has improved in part thanks to David as well as Coach Tim Floyd, from Magnolia Masters swim camp (later post).  I’m also riding stronger than I ever had and my run is at a place where it hasn’t been in years.  I am very much looking forward to starting the racing season, first up is Texas 70.3 on April 10th, then Chattanooga in May followed by Coeur d’Alene in June. Cheers to the start of racing season!